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Rubbish Registrations? – Not Likely!

Rubbish registrations

Charlie Ward bought his first personalised number plate over 20 years ago. It was a time of mixed emotions for him. While he was over the moon after buying the registration 211 CFW, he was saddened by the fact that his father Frank had to make him redundant from his waste disposal business. Fortunately, a very reasonable redundancy payment and the sound business sense he inherited from his father enabled Charlie to buy his own 7½-ton mini-skip lorry and set himself up in the waste disposal business.

Things started well and by 1989 he was looking for premises. Around that time he came across an ailing company in the same line of business, Gowing and Pursey. Without hesitation Charlie decided to take on the company name, the lease, their remaining lorry and 25 skips, effectively doubling the size of his business overnight. Over the next 10 years he got stuck in to building the business the only way he knew how – “with sheer hard work”.

During this time Charlie’s love of personal number plates stayed with him and in 1992 he bought 2 CW, adding 22 CW the following year. Both of these registrations are currently on Harley-Davidson F150, supercharged trucks – one of which has been specially tuned and lowered and now generates 650bhp, making it a veritable waste disposal hotrod! “Some of my skip lorries only generate 450bhp so you can imagine how powerful the Harley is.” Charlie explained.

Charlie has always bought his private cars, such as the Harleys, the Bentley Azure and his Hummer from specialist car suppliers Sparks of Acton in West London.

“When I bought the Hummer from my friend Nicky Vaughan at Sparks in 2003, I immediately put the registration FW 2 on it. They are my dad’s initials that I have owned since 1995. In fact when it comes to buying cars I wouldn’t go anywhere else but Sparks,” he says. “When I bought the Bentley from them it already had CEX 1 on it. I just couldn’t resist the car or the number plate.”

Today Gowing and Pursey continues to grow and is now the largest privately owned waste disposal and recycling business in the area, with depots at Acton, Harlesden and Ruislip and with a fleet of 42 lorries and over 3000 containers all serving Greater London. They also have a small waste brokerage business in Shrewsbury called Countrywide Waste Management. Some of their many contracts have been at such well known sites as the London Eye, Wembley Stadium, Twickenham Rugby Ground, the Grosvenor Hotel. The list goes on.

His dad Frank now works for the company as a depot manager and mum Mary is fully involved at their head office in North London. It is very much a family business and as such Gowing and Pursey are extremely customer-focused, considering no job too large or small for their attention.

“Our aim nowadays is to reduce waste in line with the reduction of land-fill sites which is why recycling metal, soil, wood, plastics and inert waste such as hardcore etc, is now a major part of our business at all three depots. Charlie states. “Our company policy is now ‘to preserve the long-term environment for future generations’. “The term ‘where there’s muck there’s brass’ is true, but we have added ‘where there’s muck – recycle It’ ”.

Gowing and Pursey
Gormley House
Waxlow Road
London NW10 7NU

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Call on: 0870 736 0550 or Email:

© – The World of Personal Number Plates Volume 2 Issue 3

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